Monday, May 23, 2016

Mille Lacs report from Leisure Outdoor Adventures fishing guide Tim Hanske 5/23/2016

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Mille Lacs fishing guide Tim Hanske 28 inch Walleye

This past weekend was another great one for fishing on Mille Lacs!  The walleyes and smallmouth bass have been chowing down on food, and the fishermen who get out on the big pond are experiencing world class fishing!  
Steve Hanske, 26 inch Mille Lacs walleye
We braved the wind yesterday and caught some walleyes out on the mud, including two big Mille Lacs walleyes.  We fished the north end mud flats with livebait rigs tipped with leeches and crawlers.  Drifting with the wind (.6-.9 mph) down the mud edges between 25-31 feet helped us locate active walleyes.  We did find a few schools, but on most spots they seemed to be scattered so movement was key.  I did pull spinners but this did not produce a bite as the water temps are still around 60 degrees.       Anglers who fished the windy rocks had an extremely productive day using KenKatch 3D Eye jigs with shiners and slip bobber/leech combo.  This is a great way to experience all the great fish in Mille Lacs, because they are all using the rocky structures to locate bait fish.  
Some spots to check out this week include Garrison reef, Pike point, Myr Mar reef, Matton flat, Resorters Flat, Banana flat, 3, 7, and 8 Mile flats.  Be sure to stop at Tutt’s Bait and Tackle and stock up on leeches, shiners, crawlers,fatheads, and all your tackle needs!  

Thanks, Tim Hanske
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service

#millelacs #DoTheLake #Millelacsfishingguide

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2016 Minnesota Walleye Opener Preview of Leech Lake, Mille Lacs Lake and more!

Brainerd Lakes Area 2016 Minnesota Walleye Opener
By: Tim Hanske 
Professional Fishing Guide for Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service
This is the time of year that gets everyone ready to go!  The crappies and sunfish have been snapping, the grass and trees are getting greener and the pollen is flying.  The 2016 Minnesota Walleye, Pike and Bass (catch and release) openers are upon us, and as anglers, it marks the tradition of going fishing.  I have looked forward to fishing opener every year that I can remember and this year is no different.  I wanted to highlight some of the lakes around the area and hopefully help you put a few more fish in the boat!
Tim Hanske fishing guide Brainerd Area 1Dad.JPGGull Lake and Round Lake:
I have spent many years starting the season on Gull Lake and it seems that year in and year out some areas always produce fish.  Many people flock into the channels by Zorbaz and fish around the bridges looking for the walleyes that are using these bottleneck areas to feed on their way out into the big lake.  These areas can be productive, especially if you are fishing from shore during the day or night.  I like to pitch a Kenkatch Red Hook Long Shank jig with a nice shiner minnow around and fish it back nice and slow.  Another method with the jig is to either drift or use your trolling motor to move around while slowly covering water.
        For Gull some spots to check out are the shorelines around Booming Out Bay, Grassy Point, Cobins Bar, The Hay Field, Polks Flat, River Bar and anywhere else that will hold minnows this time of year.  On Round Lake I usually start on the shoreline break right in front of the landing, the shore break in front of 371, or the Northeast Bay near the sand beaches.  Typically a stealthy presentation such as a KenKatch jig and shiner combination will definitely help you locate some active walleyes.  Live bait rigs and slip bobbers can also produce fish tipped with either minnows, leeches, or crawlers.  I like to keep the boat around 8-15 feet of water, actively fishing, trying not to scare these shallow fish.  Keep your eye out for green weeds emerging through the surface, as they can be baitfish hide-a-ways; a jig/shiner will fish through these very nicely.

North Long Lake:
Gull Lake Fishing Guide Tim Hanske.JPG
This lake can be fantastic fishing all year long, but especially on opener.  There are many areas of underwater structure and typically boat traffic is less congested than Gull Lake.  The same techniques apply and some spots to target would be right in front of the Merrifield public landing all the way to the south, the humps and their shore breaks in Merrifield Bay, Uncle Tom’s cabin (deep hole surrounded by sand on the south eastside of the main lake), Sullivan’s Bar, and the shore break between the main lake and 371 Bay.
Most of these areas have concentrations of minnows, sand to mud/rock transitions and emerging vegetation.  Casting jigs, crankbaits or slip bobbers help locate walleyes that are using these spots during the day and night time.  When fishing North Long, I like start fishing close to the weed line, and depending on what the fish are doing you can adjust your boat to present the bait without spooking them.
Mille Lacs Lake:
Brainerd Area fishing guide Tim Hanske 2Dad.JPG         Yeah, yeah, yeah…we know you can’t keep any walleyes, but for opener you sure can catch them!  Just a short drive from Brainerd, Mille Lacs will be a great lake to open the 2016 season because you can hook a 28 inch walleye or a 20 inch smallmouth on the same spot!  Be sure to stop in at Tutt’s Bait and Tackle in Garrison, MN because they will provide you with great information and everything possible for a successful trip on The Big Pond.
        Opener on Mille Lacs typically starts on the North end sand, and trust me there will be walleyes from Garrison Bay all the way to Malmo.  The trick is to find the areas of the sand that have scattered rocks plies or weed beds.  In front of the Wealthwood public landing down towards the Red Door Resort is a pretty good starting place.  You can cover water either by drifting or trolling KenKatch Jigs/shiners, live bait rigs with leeches/crawlers, or crankbaits.  Walleyes will be scattered from 6-23 feet of water, so figuring out the best depth can take some time but is worth it once your hook is set!  Normally on the flat calm days the fish will either be deeper or in the weeds, and on windy days the will be up on the rocks or sand eating minnows.  Other spots to check include Garrison Reef, Pikes Point, Myr Mar Reef, Banana Flat, Seguchi’s Flat, and some other nearshore flats.
Leech Lake:
Mille Lacs Lake fishing guide Tim Hanske walleye.JPG         A short 50-minute drive North on Highway 371 will bring you right to the shores of this walleye factory.  Here, many opportunities will present themselves to keep some walleye for dinner and hopefully put numbers in the boat as well.  Most people will be hoping for some wind, and when the wind blows the main lake points come alive.  Fish the points with the most wind blowing into them drifting a Kenkatch Jig/minnow, live bait rig or slip bobber to locate hungry walleyes on the prowl.  Some of these main lake points include: Pine Point, Ottertail, Duck 1 & 2, Star, Hardwoods, Oak, and Stony Point.  Most of these fish will be feeding on windy days in 5-12 feet of water and once you contact some active walleyes, it is generally a good idea to focus a small drift in that area.  On the calm days, pitch a light jig/minnow around or use the boat to pull the bait along to locate the hungry schools of walleye.
The weather looks somewhat interesting for Saturday, but it is after all the Minnesota Opener!  Dress in layers, be safe and be sure to remember that it most likely will be busy at the landings.  Exercise patience, and even try to lend a helping hand! We all remember our first time using a public access, and we all still make mistakes at the ramps, especially when everyone is watching and waiting.  Most of all have fun and catch some walleyes!!  

For questions, information, please check out the following bait shops and websites:  Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Service, VisitBrainerd,  Tutt’s Bait and Tackle, Full Stringer Bait and Tackle 218-363-2031, Swanson’s Bait .

Thanks for reading, GOOD LUCK!!

Tim Hanske
1-855-LOA-HOOK (855-562-4665)
Leisure Outdoor Adventures

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Good Ol' Days of Fishing

Technology, social media, and conservation have changed the landscape of fishing. Some would argue, the good ol days of “fishing” are gone. With technology and fish counts on the side of anglers, one could argue that the good ol’ days of “catching” are now.
Ray Gildow
Legends & Legacies is series of tales
about some of the legendary fishing
guides in the Nisswa Mn area written
by Ray Gildow
Giant fish pictures with legendary fish guides and charter captains who were talented outdoorsmen capture our imagination and tell some of the best stories.Their daily triangulations and compass readings to find locations were truly a skill that could only be learned by time on the water and not purchased. Fishing journals would be held close to an angler’s heart and shared with very few. Homemade lures and trapping your own bait surely added to an element of reward at the end of the day. Fishing on pristine lakes, with little to no development or traffic, would be that ultimate experience. Secret spots and Lake X were the only locations shared. For many, this is perceived as the good ol’ days of fishing.
Virgil Wards Champonship Fishing Show  began in 1964


That all began to change when the first fishing reports and fish catches first started to make their way to newspapers. Virgil Ward was one of the first TV fishing shows dating back to the 60’s. The Nashville Network (TNN) hosted shows like In-Fisherman, Bill Dance and Hank Parker Outdoors on Sunday nights beginning in the early 90’s. Along these lines of angler education, a trip to the mailbox once a month to pick up a current In-Fisherman or BASS Magazine where articles highlighting idols like Al and Ron Lindner and their cutting edge or tournament winning advice and strategy would quickly be learned from many of the top pro’s and guides around the world.
Leisure Outdoor Adventures Facebook
fishing report with up to date info on a
local lake.                                                     

Fast forward 20 years and the landscape has changed both on and off the water. As a guide and tournament angler, I have been involved just long enough to remember the transition into the world of social media, gps, lake chips, and state of the art fish finding technologies.There is no doubt that getting to the fish, finding fish, and staying on the fish is easier today.
A quick glance onto your favorite social media outlet will surely provide evidence of an awesome catch or experience that will make you pause and take note. There are thousands of anglers who utilize social media as a promotional avenue and they depend on their subscribers.  An online search for a destination that matches that catch will undoubtedly provide a video, report, or message board that provides the general info as to how and when to catch the fish that you are after. Youtube has become an educational tool that can be used as a virtual online classroom. 

Lowrance HDS 12 with Insight Map Chip

Lake maps, chips and smartphone applications have changed the sport. The Navionics App. for smart phones is one of the biggest advances in lake/ fish information. Accurate depth contours, DNR stocking and fish catch information, water clarity are all at the tip of a finger. This can also double as a handheld gps /lake map when you have good service. A trip to the boat in the garage with map chips and GPS / fishfinders technology allow for plotting a hit list for the trip long before the ship ever sails
Reaction baits are not only replacing but out
fishing traditional bait in many situations.
The hands on element of fishing has become just as advanced in many ways. Fishing rods are now built with specific actions for techniques and with material that allows for lighter weight and better feel. Line advances and artificial lures have become so effective that for many, they have become the preferred method of fishing. The “bite” itself has become more of an addiction than the catch for many because of this advancement in feel.
Lund Boats
300 HP Mercury Verado on a 20ft Lund Pro V is built to get
you to the fish and back safely.                                

  Getting to the spot and staying longer has never been so easy or safer than today. There are many boat and motor manufacturers that produce models specific to all types of fishing. They are getting bigger, faster, safer and more efficient with every model. These advancements allow anglers to fish lakes of all shapes and size under most conditions. Some of the best days fishing today wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago for safety reasons.

Kruger Farms Pro Korey Sprengel is one of the most
successful pros on the National Walleye Tour
Fishing has become very technical and commercialized in comparison to 20 years ago. Few can argue that there are a lot of really good fisherman out there today. With social media and online television, there is a lot more information available to become a better angler. The professional fishing tournaments, like other pro sports, are spotlighting up and coming anglers who are very successful in their first few years on tour. This is proof that perhaps the modern angler is in fact a better angler. The names that have withstood the test of time like Kevin Van Dam, Gary Parsons, and Al Lindner have all adapted to embrace the changes made adaptations and are well schooled with the advancements of the fishing industry.
Leech Lake Walleye
Stringers full of fish are being replaced with smiles and photos that tell a story.
Catch and Release arguably has been one 
of the biggest changes to fishing. Gone are the vast photos of an angler with little expression holding a giant dead musky or walleye.  Replacing them are happy photos with anglers holding a live fish that is tagged as released for another angler to enjoy. The dried up faded fish that hangs in a rustic bar are being replaced with beautiful fiberglass replicas that look better than the original ever did. Conservation and Sport fishing has undoubtedly become more of a common practice for many species. Slot limits have helped fish survival on certain lakes when managed properly and a person can argue fish catches on lakes such as Leech Lake and Red Lake in Minnesota have never been better. It's possible that this will likely become more common practice with better understanding of year classes and slot limits by our local fishery departments.
The good ol’ day of fishing are really in the experience and ideals of an individual. There is little doubt with the advancements in the fishing and boating industry, social media and online educational resources that we now have the potential to find a lake and experience a once in a lifetime fishing opportunity on a more regular basis.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Leech Lake Ice Fishing Report

Leech Lake was up and down this past week and with the recent cold snap things have slowed down somewhat.  The front has caused the walleyes to be less aggressive and anglers are having to really hone in on those peak periods as well as as staying mobile to stay on top of the walleye bite.  Most fish are still being caught throughout the Main Lake in 12-16 feet of water.  This has held true with reefs, shoreline breaks, as well as breaklines and points.  Many anglers are utilizing the south end access and heading out to the reefs and breaklines around Pipe and Pelican Islands where as on the west end of the Lake, Traders Bay, Stony Point, and Pine Point are all seeing action.

Walker Bay has a decent walleye bite, with eater fish being more prominent.  18-28ft of water on humps that are near shore as well as shoreline breaks and points.  The Ice in Walker Bay is really varying so use caution and stick close for now constantly checking and drill holes.  Ice is varying from 4-6" in some places to 11-12" in others so it is best to continue to exercise patience with the Bay.  

Perch fishing has been good, with better fish coming on both main lake rock-to-sand transitions, and depressions in shallow sand/weed flats. Site fishing for perch can also be a fun thing to do all winter long, especially on weed flats.  With the abundance of small perch in the system, try upsizing your presentation to combat those little perch and catch more jumbos.

Panfishing remains good for Crappies and Bluegills with both species showing up in typical mid-winter areas like basin edges and mid-depth soft bottom flats. Look for those dishpan style lakes to focus your efforts on.  Tungsten jigs with plastics or euro larvae as well as small jigging spoons are working for both species.  

Give us a call for any of your Ice House Rental Needs or Guided Ice Fishing Trips.



Monday, October 5, 2015

Picking through the pencil reeds!

A bite that recently emerged on Leech lake has been the pencil reed bite.  By recently, I don’t mean it was just discovered, rather the baitfish moved in there and the walleye and perch have followed.  Too many the idea of fishing here, especially for crappies, is nothing new.   However, it is worth looking at for a fall tactic.  Walleyes and Jumbo perch are in here gorging as the temps start to drop. Take advantage and enjoy a great mixed bag fun!

Reeds, like any area with structure, need a little help.  On Leech, wind is king and provides a lot of help to enhance any structure, including pencil reed areas.  If I know that baitfish have been using these areas, I am going to look first for those in the wind driven areas.  The wind will also help concentrate that ball of baitfish so when I find the areas where walleyes are feasting, it should be game on!

When in search mode, I am going to start with jigs, moving rather quickly as I search for fish.; ⅛ stand up jig or an ⅛ long shank Kenkatch jig are my go to jigs. I will be looking to make casts to open pockets within the reed areas.  If I don’t find them there I will begin probing  the weed edges. Rainbows and fatheads are all the a person needs in the fall.  If, somehow, you could find leeches, try those to tempt finicky walleyes or perch into biting.  

Another technique that is overlooked come fall is slip bobbering.  Slip bobbers and pencil were made for each other.  Slip bobbers allow tremendous precision when making casts and keep the bait above debris, often dead pencil reeds.  When shifting to bobbers, you may find it helpful to back off a bit and make longer casts to avoid spooking the fish.  Rainbows and fatheads are still the bait of choice, but also try tail hooking the minnow to create a little more fish attracting struggle.  

In the fall, most boats will be probing the depths, fishing steep breaks in search walleyes.  And, while 
they will find some for sure, they will not find the mixed bags of jumbos and walleyes that you will by picking through the pencil reeds!      

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Mighty Mississippi

The Mighty Mississippi
By Mike Raetz

The Mississippi River, to most, is a very intimidating body of water.  However, what most don't realize is it can be some of the best fishing around, especially when lakes prove tough.  At your fingertips, you have endless miles of great fishing opportunities and a chance to catch a fish of a lifetime. When fishing a river there are 2 main things to look for that will increase your chances for a wonderful day on the water. First and foremost look for slack water. Slack water is a break in the current where an object blocks the flow and slows down a small area to almost no moving water.  These areas will hold fish looking to ambush prey swimming by, particularly brown bass. The next is structure, IE mats of weeds, rock piles and brush. Rocks are a primary area that draw smallmouth to feed on crayfish and small bugs.

Equipment used on the river is very similar to your tackle you would use on any lake. But for your rod and reel set-up a little more bulk is a good idea. Using braided line is better to keep  line from fraying as that will happen given the debris and rocks prevalent in a river. I like to use 15lb all the way to 65lb braided line but a happy medium is to use 25lb test line. For baits it is really pretty simple and don’t over think it. Any weedless style skirted jig with a craw style trailer or topwater frog will do the trick. The weedless style jigs are going to help you get through the rocks and wood without getting hung up so easily. Topwater frogs or perhaps a popper lure are very popular for pulling over thick sets of lily pads and mats of weeds where these fish will go on the warm days looking for shade. Dark colors are best for crawfish trailers and other finesse baits because the clarity is poor. When using a darker bait, choose one with a glitter flake in the lure will allow the fish to see it from farther away giving you the best chance at a bite.

Take these tips and hit the river for some outstanding fishing!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Leech Lake Fishing Report

Leech Lake Fishing Report

Well things are changing all over the lake with bugs still hatching, water temps in the mid  to low 70s,
and tons of perch and minnows swimming throughout the lake.  With all of this, we have found a mixture of results with some days being excellent fishing and other days it being what I call the “walleye grind” on the lake.

The Main Lake Rocks are still producing fish.  Having a staggered bug hatch has helped keep this bite active.  The morning seems to be the best time to be fishing the rocks.  Pulling spinners is the best method and mixing up blade colors has been key.  Dialing in the color with the speed and you will set up a trolling program that will put fish in the boat.  With walleyes actively feeding and moving around, spinners are the ticket in covering water and finding the active schools of fish.  We have found that 1mph to 1.4mph has been the ticket in 16-20ft of water on sunny calm days and 11-14ft of water on windy days.  Annex, Submarine Island, Red Rocks, Pelican Reef, Mokey, Huddles, and West Bar have all produced fish this past week.   If spinners aren’t working, slow down by blowing up a crawler and using a lindy rig to work through the schools of fish.  

Wind Blown points are still producing fish if you get a steady wind from the same direction for a couple
days in a row.  Depending on the conditions, you will need to cover the water column.  On a good windy day, fish are still being caught in 6-8 feet of water pulling lindy rigs with crawlers or leeches.  Stoney, Little Stoney, and Ottertail have all been good.  On calmer days, look to fish the steeper breaks in 14-18ft of water.

Walker and Agency Bays are producing some fish on humps and shoreline breaks.  14-25ft of water has been the ticket pulling lindy rigs with crawlers or sucker minnows have all produced fish.  Also slip bobbering fish in and around cabbage beds or weed edges with a lively leech is also producing fish.  

Continue to be versatile and try fishing new water when you are out there.  Getting away from the fishing pressure like always is a major key to success.

Tight Lines

Leisure Outdoor Adventures

More Pics from the last couple of weeks

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Muskie Madness!

                                             Leech Lake            

Oh the Summer Peak Period (Water temps reach mid 70s) is one of the best times of years to put those fish with the biggest teeth in the net!  With the warmer water temps the muskie's metabolism also rises which means they have to feed more often to sustain a diet.  That means fish are active more times throughout the day giving you, the angler, more chances at casting your lure past the top of the line predator.

If you have read anything about chasing muskies in Minnesota Leech Lake is always one that is on top of the list.  There is hundreds upon thousands of spots to fish.  The first thing I always track as a fishing guide on the lake is the bite in the weeds or rocks going?  If the weed bite is strong there are many great long shoreline stretches to focus on.  I spend hours searching on flat calm sunny days looking for fresh cabbage growth.  I mark them out by utilizing my GPS on my Lowrance.  I literally know exactly where my lure is landing with each cast.  If the rocks are hot I will then focus on the main lake rock points and mid lake structure.  Doing the same on calm days I have had these spots marked out for years and unlike the weedgrowth they don't change from year to year.

My go to lure in the summer months is a bucktail.  Last season with no doubt, especially on calm days, we caught way more muskies on smaller bucktails, like my favorite, the Bigtooth Tackle JUICE Mini.  If the wind is rockin we sometimes would up the blade size to the JUICE Mag 8 or 10.  I have two favorite colors the "Halo" and "Honey Bear" color.  They are as natural of a color as it gets.  

One other tip is that we caught several fish, even in flat calm days, during the middle of the day last year.  I think with the given pressure during key times, like sunrise and sunset, fish would get pushed off of the community spots.  Stick with it and keep casting to good spots!  
Love the chase,
Jeff Andersen
                                                                  Mille Lacs Lake
As our summer water temps begin to increase, so does the activity and feeding of the Mille Lacs muskies.  Following the spawn, many of the larger fish in Mille Lacs move out over open water to begin recuperating and feeding.  Due to the vastness and bowl like features of Mille Lacs, these fish become challenging to target and effectively fish.  However, once the waters move into the low to upper 70 degree mark, many of these fish will often begin to show up on predictable weed and rock areas throughout the lake.  Identify the thickest patches and beds of cabbage and other weeds and you can bet there are muskies nearby.  Rocks can also be effective on Mille Lacs throughout the summer months and should not be overlooked.  These areas are often most productive immediately following or during a consistent wind which may move bait up onto the structure.  Focus on identifying the highest “crown” on the reef and start there.
Summer time muskie fishing on Mille Lacs allows anglers to use a variety of presentations but undoubtedly one of the most effective and exciting is topwater.  Walk the dog and prop style baits are great choices.  The other top producers are always in- line spinners in a variety of blade sizes.  Painted blades appear to outproduce metallic blades on cloudy days but experimenting is always required.  Other daytime favorites include rubber baits such as Bulldawgs as well as jerk and crank baits.  These baits all appear to increase dramatically in effectiveness when they are fished in a fashion where they make contact with the structure.  Mille Lacs lake muskies are notorious for pulling a Houdini act during much of the day, making the saying, “The night time is the right time,”  even more true.  Large in-line spinners and slow moving topwaters are always top choices for night bites.  Mille Lacs Lake offers some of the greatest trophy class fish found throughout MN and the entire country.  Take the time to learn a specific section or area of the lake and your rewards might be huge.
Go find your trophy!
Jim Kath